HYMN “Mighty To Save”
Everyone needs compassion
A love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations
Saviour, he can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever Author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave
So take me as you find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything that I believe in
Now I surrender
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing for the glory of the risen king Jesus [2x]
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing for the glory of the risen king Jesus [6x]
READING – Matthew 12: 38-50
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
SERMON – Who is God’s family?
If God can be considered to be a family God – WHOM does He consider to be in His family? We sing songs about the “family of man” and in a sense we are all the work of God’s hands. He made us and so we could be said to have Him as our creator and “Father”. BUT God has another family … a special family … those He loves and cares for, guides strengthens and comforts. Who are they?
Is it the Jews? They are the most likely racial candidates, indeed, the only race that has ever been chosen by God. Well, although God has not finished with His ancient people, Jesus had some amazingly sharp words for them. One of the main problems with so many of them was that they loved the outward show of religion and missed out on the heart.
A group of them (probably some of the religious leaders) approached Jesus and said (in a hypocritical tone) vs.38 “MASTER … we want to see a miraculous sign”. Typically the Jews wanted SIGNS. Yet we have just read of Jesus healing and blind & dumb demoniac – was not THAT a sign?
All 4 Gospels record the feeding of the 5000 – John’s comment (Jn 6:14) is “The people saw the miraculous sign.” Yet very soon after that incident, the same group of folks who had been fed demanded of Jesus (vs 30) “What miraculous sign, then, will you give that we may see it and believe you?”
Were these people blind? Or stupid? Probably both! They looked for signs from heaven, but Jesus had come down from heaven – He WAS THE SIGN – but they totally failed to understand this.
How easily people are deceived by FALSE SIGNS – and Jesus didn’t want followers who were only interested in the extraordinary. The fact of the matter is that these men did NOT want a sign – on the contrary, they wanted Jesus to FAIL to provide one so that they could prove He was a fraud.
How many people have the same attitude today: “Let God come to earth as a man NOW”, they say, “THEN we will believe.”
However, patently they are lying – their intentions are not honourable. Well, did Jesus bow to this pressure?
Not a bit of it. He told them there would be no sign except that of the Resurrection from the dead. Rom 1:4 (Jesus) “was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead.”
And the Jews would have to wait for that great event. Even thereafter many of them remained hostile to Christ. Jesus warned them of what lay in store for some of them. Oh-so-proud of their calling by God – they would one day be judged by GENTILES. They couldn’t imagine anything worse.
Now, why were the Ninevites to be counted as members of God’s family? Because they repented. Why was the Queen of Sheba part of God’s family? Because she came to seek God’s wisdom. Israel is described as a people from whom and evil spirit has been cast out. That evil spirit was idolatry. After the exile they got rid of idols. BUT Jesus said they had failed to respond to God’s Holy Spirit. The result was that bad spirits had come upon them. If we don’t go FORWARD with God, we will slip AWAY from Him.
Jesus was brought up in a family with Mary and her sons and daughters – but Jesus makes it plain that this is not His real and eternal family. (vs 50) “Whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my family.” It is nothing to do with blood relations. Jesus actually had to rebuke His natural family on this occasion. It doesn’t matter who are your family, or what are their origins. (Billy Graham says: God has no grandchildren).
Going to Church, having a godly father, calling Jesus “Master”, ALL of that is trivial. What is vital is that you have entered a vital relationship with God. It starts with repentance and feeds daily on God’s Wisdom (the Bible) and submits to the will of God each step of each day.
GOD’S FAMILY … what a wonderful thing it is – to know that you are loved with a very special Father’s love. To know that Jesus is your brother – to confide in Him – trust Him absolutely. A family which extends throughout the earth and throughout the ages. God’s wonderful family. If you are in this family say THANK YOU to God – if NOT, what are you waiting for?
HYMN My Jesus, my Saviour (Shout to the Lord) Hillsong
Lord there is none like You
All of my days
I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath
All that I am
Never cease to worship You
Shout to the Lord
All the earth let us sing
Power and majesty
Praise to the King
Mountains bow down
And the seas will roar
At the sound of Your Name
I sing for joy
At the work of Your hands
Forever I’ll love You
Forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to
The promise I have in You